Death Valley Introduction

TripLeader

Explorer
Part 11 [A Flat-Bed Tow-Truck? In These Parts?]

I was driving solo from Ubehebe Crater to the Racetrack Valley. My traveling companion had fallen ill and was convalescing at a local discount motel.

Things were beautiful. The weather was fair. Life was good.
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A tow-truck was coming down the road in the opposite direction. He must've been in a hurry because he did not want to stop for other traffic. The road was not wide enough for the both of us. I pulled to the side, but did so quickly because the tow-truck was not stopping or moving over. I was not happy about my position, but the tow-truck was a-comin'.

This was the result. The tow truck was going to make contact. I couldn't move because I had been in 2WD. I needed to rock the truck some to get unstuck, but that wasn't an option with the proximity of the tow-truck. (For anyone unaware, the Tacoma has to be moving to engage 4WD.) The tow-truck was committed to it's path. It had partially climbed the rock bank on it's side of the road, but not enough.

We were literally 2-3 inches from each other. The tow-truck was going to make contact as it passed. It did.
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Not good. This was my friend's truck. This was not going to make him feel better.
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We exchanged information, or rather I provided information. Rudy the tow-truck driver didn't have the company's insurance with him. I wrote down his information otherwise. I figured a business allowed to work in a national park would be a reputable operation. There wasn't the option of making a phone call way out in the middle of nowhere.

So then Rudy the tow-truck driver went his way and I went mine.
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I called the company numerous times over the next few days. Lo and behold, Rudy the tow-truck driver was not the honest working man he had made himself out to be. He told his boss I had failed to yield to him and passed him at speed. The boss refused to provide me with the insurance information.

A call to law enforcement was in order. The California Highway Patrol worked traffic crashes in those parts. Luckily the photos and a GPS track was able to persuade CHP that I was not some scam artist who drove thousands of miles to make a claim against a small business I had never heard of before in another state. It still took a week's worth of phone calls to get to that point. Thanks Rudy!

Back to the drive... I felt terrible about the damage (still do) and it was a major blight on the trip. It caused a slight bend in the sheet metal, plenty of scratches to the paint, and scratches to the plastic fender flare. At least it was still drivable.
 
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WOODY2

Adventurer
Part 13 [A Flat-Bed Tow Truck? In These Parts?]

I was driving solo from Ubehebe Crater to the Racetrack Valley. My traveling companion had fallen ill and was convalescing at a local discount motel.

Things were beautiful. The weather was fair. Life was good.
View attachment 572170

A tow-truck was coming down the road in the opposite direction. He must've been in a hurry because he did not want to stop for other traffic. The road was not wide enough for the both of us. I pulled to the side, but did so quickly because the tow-truck was not stopping or moving over. I was not happy about my position, but the tow-truck was a-comin'.

This was the result. The tow truck was going to make contact. I couldn't move because I had been in 2WD. I needed to rock the truck some to get unstuck, but that wasn't an option with the proximity of the tow-truck. (For anyone unaware, the Tacoma has to be moving to engage 4WD.) The tow-truck was committed to it's path. It had partially climbed the rock bank on it's side of the road, but not enough.

We were literally 2-3 inches from each other. The tow-truck was going to make contact as it passed. It did.
View attachment 572172

Not good. This was my friend's truck. This was not going to make him feel better.
View attachment 572173

We exchanged information, or rather I provided information. Rudy the tow-truck driver didn't have the company's insurance with him. I wrote down his information otherwise. I figured a business allowed to work in a national park would be a reputable operation. There wasn't the option of making a phone call way out in the middle of nowhere.

So then Rudy the tow-truck driver went his way and I went mine.
View attachment 572185

View attachment 572186

I called the company numerous times over the next few days. Lo and behold, Rudy the tow-truck driver was not the honest working man he had made himself out to be. He told his boss I had failed to yield to him and passed him at speed. The boss refused to provide me with the insurance information.

A call to law enforcement was in order. The California Highway Patrol worked traffic crashes in those parts. Luckily the photos and a GPS track was able to persuade CHP that I was not some scam artist who drove thousands of miles to make a claim against a small business I had never heard of before in another state. It still took a week's worth of phone calls to get to that point. Thanks Rudy!

Back to the drive... I felt terrible about the damage (still do) and it was a major blight on the trip. It caused a slight bend in the sheet metal, plenty of scratches to the paint, and scratches to the plastic fender flare. At least it was still drivable.
Please provide the name of the tow company and location?
 

4x4x4doors

Explorer
Thanks for the share. We've done parts of DV and are looking to do so again in the next month or so. I see your report is still coming so I won't comment on the "you missed one of our favorites" yet. (You got much nicer pics of the train station at Rhyolite than we did.)
The petroglyphs at Greenwater are eluding my lookup skills though. Can you provide a little more specifics so we can include them in our plans?
 

shade

Well-known member
Thanks for the share. We've done parts of DV and are looking to do so again in the next month or so. I see your report is still coming so I won't comment on the "you missed one of our favorites" yet. (You got much nicer pics of the train station at Rhyolite than we did.)
The petroglyphs at Greenwater are eluding my lookup skills though. Can you provide a little more specifics so we can include them in our plans?
You have to hike a few hours roundtrip to see all of them. Unfortunately, there's enough vandalism that I don't usually post detailed locations openly.

PM sent.
 
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TripLeader

Explorer
Please provide the name of the tow company and location?
Give me a PM if you'd still like the name.

Thanks for the share. We've done parts of DV and are looking to do so again in the next month or so. I see your report is still coming so I won't comment on the "you missed one of our favorites" yet. (You got much nicer pics of the train station at Rhyolite than we did.)
The petroglyphs at Greenwater are eluding my lookup skills though. Can you provide a little more specifics so we can include them in our plans?
I nearly put an asterisk on the description of them--I could not recall the exact fork in the road we took to get there. I had to look over the map and the guidebook to even recall that much of a description for this report.

I also think there are better destinations out there than that hike. Not that it's horrible, but...
 
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TripLeader

Explorer
Part 12 [The Racetrack, Lippincott Pass, & Saline Valley]

I continued on from the tow-truck incident. I went through Teakettle Junction, but wasn't in the mood to stop.

The next point of interest was Racetrack Valley.
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Lippincott Pass was at the end of Racetrack Valley. The sign designated "No Tow Services." For once, that would be a good feeling.
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Continuing down Lippincott, with Saline Valley below.
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Hitting the valley floor.
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I drove out the south end of Saline Valley and over the ridge. It provided another view of Racetrack Valley.
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The route continued on through fantastic cacti fields.
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It was an open range.
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I made it out and called it a day, and then broke the news to my friend about his Tacoma.
 

TripLeader

Explorer
Part 15 [Cottonwood Canyon]

I enjoy backpacking. So I wanted to get some backpacking time at Death Valley. I chose a two-day, one-night route up Cottonwood Canyon and out Marble Canyon.

My traveling companion was not feeling quite up to it yet. So I went solo.

My last look back at "civilization" as I departed from the trailhead.
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I made my camp after about 10 miles.
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I chose an elevated spot. The views were great, but at the price of high winds. There had been the possibility of overnight rain in the forecast. It had sprinkled during part of my hike. I was terrified of a flash flood.

Dinner that evening.
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TripLeader

Explorer
Part 17 [Backpack Morning]

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I passed a small stream. My filter and an empty water bottle were easily accessible. I topped off. I figured I would feel silly if I later died of dehydration, and had passed up this opportunity.
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This was a somewhat technical section of the trail. I lowered my pack down by paracord. Then I maneuvered down the 10 foot drop.
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I was finally arriving at the narrow stretch through Marble Canyon.
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shade

Well-known member
Neat overnighter.

If someone wants to do that Cottonwood/Marble Canyon hike, the drive to the "trailhead" gets pretty rough by the end; you're basically driving down a dry wash. You start hiking wherever you decide to stop, which in this case, was next to a significant wash-out.

If you're willing to walk a few more miles, it can be done in a car you don't care about very much.
 
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